BEYOND Epic is set for an all-Swedish showdown. Or at least, mostly Swedish.
Ninjas in Pyjamas is set to take on Alliance in a group stage showdown on June 18. The two teams are in very different places relative to where they’ve been prior to some of their recent showdowns, as Alliance will be looking to stay alive in the event after falling into an early hole while NiP will be looking to stay near the top of the pack.
It’s a change of pace for both teams, but will the matchup also head in a different direction?
During the early days of the Dota 2 moving back to online play, Chicken Fighters was one of the standout performers. The squad led by Dota 2 veterans Adrian “Era” Kryeziu and Akbar “SoNNeikO” Butaev came together seemingly out of nowhere and went toe-to-toe with some of Dota 2’s best, most notably taking fourth in the stacked ESL One Los Angeles EU and CIS league.
That Chicken Fighters roster remains fully intact, but the move to Ninjas in Pyjamas has been met with persistently bad luck. Replacing the Peter “ppd” Dager’s squad that dissolved following his retirement, the team has been generally ineffective in play.
The team’s placements at NiP have been consistently poor, most recently taking last place in the BLAST Bounty Hunt. Some of that is due to the team’s weaknesses, but it also comes down to the team getting bad draws or coming out on the wrong end of tie-breaking criteria.
NiP is currently 1-2 in BEYOND Epic, besting Team Empire while losing to Team Liquid and FlyToMoon.
Alliance was among the best teams in Europe when it abruptly changed its roster to move back in the direction of being an all-Swedish team. Early results have been mixed.
On the one hand, Alliance has been able to take wins off almost every team in the European and CIS leagues that have emerged in recent months. This extends all the way up to top-ranked Team Secret, which Alliance has become an unlikely rival for of late.
At no point has Alliance looked dominant, though. Even when the team is getting strong placements, it never feels like a big favorite and can still take losses to steep underdogs.
Alliance has the makings of a top Dota 2 team, but they still seem to be in their developmental phase.
Winners.bet currently has the odds on this matchup as 1.68 vs. 2.05, with Ninjas in Pyjamas being the underdog by a decent margin. That’s a fair line, but a case can be made that Alliance is slightly overvalued given their recent form.
This one is tough to call. The record between these two teams stands at 2-1 in favor of the NiP roster dating back to their showdown at ESL Los Angeles when NiP was still known as Chicken Fighters. Alliance has also been very hot and cold in online leagues, switching between extended winning streaks and rough stretches filled with losses.
Betting here hinges on whether one buys into the idea that Alliance is in a rough patch that NiP can take advantage of. With the difficult start to BEYOND Epic and Alliance’s early exit from BLAST Bounty Hunt, a strong case can be made that NiP is the smart choice.